The wine was tasted in August 2019. The appearance was clear, deep garnet intensity, stained tears.
The nose was clean, medium intensity. Aroma characteristics of violet, black plum, blackberry, black cherry, cinnamon, licorice, black pepper, cedar, and mint. The wine was still developing.
On the palate, the wine was dry with high acidity, high tannins, high alcohol, medium (+) body, pronounced flavor intensity. The tannins were fine-grained. The wine was balanced and had a long finish.
The quality was very good. One could drink this now or it is suitable for further aging. This is a super-premium wine, over $50.
Drinking the 2012 vintage in 2019 or 2020? I’d recommend decanting for an hour.
Why does Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon taste like this?
The aromas and flavors, as well as high acidity and high alcohol levels of this wine result from the combination of the elevation at which these grapes are grown (1600 to 2200 feet in elevation), warm Mediterranean climate of Napa Valley with high temperatures in the day and cooler mountain temperatures at night, warm fermentations and maceration period (how long the grape skins remain in contact with the crushed juice). This wine is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot - the addition of Merlot adds some hints of red fruits, chocolate as well as softness and suppleness.
When the grapes are picked, most of them go through a fast fermentation in stainless steel, while a minority (about 15%) ferment in French oak barrels. Following malolactic fermentation, the wine goes into new French oak from a variety of prestigious cooperages.
The wine is crafted by the winemaker to highlight the brambly dark fruits of Howell Mountain, the ‘seasoning’ of high-end French oak barrels, and ready to drink when it is released or to age up to 15 - 20 years.
If you like Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and are interested in grapes grown organically and wineries LEED-certified (green, energy-efficient), you might like wines like this.
Cade Estate Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairing
This wine’s high acidity, high alcohol, and pronounced flavor intensity make it difficult for pairing with a wide variety of foods. Classically, Cabernet Sauvignon like this wine is paired with stronger meats like ostrich, lamb, and beef. When there is a little bit of charring on steak, as well as some black pepper - those bold flavors helps in foiling potentially bitter tannins found in younger wines.
Many people may not like Cabernet Sauvignon paired with delicate dishes like fish - the intense flavor masks the flavor of more subtle dishes. Spicy foods with this wine might make the wine taste or feel more astringent.
Where to Purchase Cade Estate Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon?
We purchased this wine at the estate itself. It can also be purchased on the winery’s website. It can be purchased at some wine shops. Since the wine is part of the PlumpJack Group, it is widely distributed in the United States and can be found on wine lists.